My experience with sleep apnea surgery

by Chefan

I had mild sleep apnea and major snoring.
In September I had my tonsils removed, fixed a deviated septum and turbinate reduction to the nasal passages, and a UPPP (remove Uvula and widen the upper palate).

My insurance company fought me tooth and nail on the UPPP. Then Finally got it approved. Took about 4 months.

Had the surgery. It took about an hour. The recovery took about 4 weeks for no more pain, but an additional 2 weeks to get my full strength back. The first 2 weeks were brutal. Make no mistake about it, this is a big surgery and will be a long and difficult recovery.

The first 2 days you feel pretty decent. Almost like you just had a tooth pulled and that's it. But by day 3 it ALL hits your body and you can barely get out of bed.
I went through way more pain medicine than I was supposed to, but when you are in that much pain you just want to knock yourself out.

The doctor said recovery would be 2-3 weeks. That's only for the pain to subside. The total recovery is 4-6 weeks.

The end result. I don't snore anymore. My sleep Apnea is almost gone. Losing weight will be give the best results. I'm about 40lbs overweight. I've started to exercise and that makes a big difference.

If you have the time to devote to the recovery period, then the surgery is a good option. This way I won't have to wear the CPAP.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for My experience with sleep apnea surgery

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

May 14, 2010
thanks for sharing
by: Tracy

Thanks so very much for sharing your experience!
I had UPPP too and can confirm the PAIN Shocked

When did you have the surgery?
When do you plan on returning for another sleep study to verify it reduced your apnea?

The only way you will really know if it helped the apnea is to have followed up studies in the sleep lab. Snoring is one indicator of apnea, so now that you don't snore...which is a good thing. You'll have to be aware of your other apnea-related symptoms.

Just a heads up - I know a lot of patients who had UPPP and it "cured" them for a few months to a few years, then apnea came back and even worse. I mention this because follow-ups are very important.

I wish I could say I got some reduction or "cure" for even a little while. Unfortunately, my UPPP actually made my apnea WORSE - immediately ... I had my first follow up after healing from the surgery about 12 weeks later. Then had continued follow-ups annually - each time my machine pressures had to be significantly raised.

Best of luck to you - and please do keep following up with us! I really hope you will be one of the lucky few who finds benefit with U3P.

May 14, 2010
I didn't return for a second sleep study
by: Chefan

I wish I had a chance to return for a sleep study. Unfortunately, I no longer have health insurance. One of the downfalls of being unemployed. Once I am back to work and have insurance again, I definitely want to go in for a sleep study to compare the results.
I wasn't aware that the Apnea returns after a while. I'll have to keep a lookout for the symptoms.

The one drawback to the UPPP surgery, that I wasn't informed of by my physician, is that I often find myself choking when I drink the liquid. It's kind of like when you take a drink and start coughing and you say "it must of went down the wrong pipe". It happens often.

Although it's getting better as my body is learning to adjust to not having the uvula. I was under the impression it was a useless item much like the appendix. Not true. Doubtful I would've have opted out of the surgery had I known. But it would have been nice to have a heads up.

May 14, 2010
I don't think it was a good idea
by: Michigan

Yeah, that little ole uvula is a great aid in swallowing and getting stuff down the right "pipe". IF one's uvula is TRULY enlarged or exceptionally long, shaving or shortening it would be the better option I would think. Entire removal?? Not such a good idea I don't think.

May 14, 2010
Find a doctor who has experience with UPPP, because it works.
by: Jenny

What does a UPPP do and what does a tonsilectomy do ?

See your airway as a funnel and the trachea as the pipe of the funnel.
Do UPPP's work ? Of course if that fatty tissue is blocking your airway. UPPP removes loose fatty tissue at the entrance of the pipe

Does a tonsilectomy work ? Of course if that is what is blocking your airway.

OSA is simply the airway entrance or the pipe going into your lungs is blocking your your attempt to breathe when you sleep.

It can be your tongue, uvla, tonsils or just having too much fat tissue crowding your airway. Now this only happens if your genetics have you with a small entrance.

Reducing your fat ratio will of course open that airway if that airway is crowded with fatty tissue. Do you have a large neck or do you have thick sides inside your mouth?

Aside from central sleep apnea OSA is a simple problem but can be difficult to fix.

What is blocking that entrance and pipe has to be removed or reduced.

There is no phantom problem here. The tongue is the major problem and excess fatty tissue the next. But it is extremely hard with the western diet to reduce the fat ratio of an OSA sufferer to cure them of this condition The medical consensous is they can't! Prescribe CPAP to help them.

You are in a very good position to prevent OSA or keep it from getting worse or curing it if you haven't already.

Most UPPP's work but the body with the western diet mostly puts back on the fatty tissue that was taken out. Not unusual to hear someone having a second UPPP.

My advice would be watch what you eat. Lose that 40lbs. Most people reviewed after having a UPPP that worked and now does not are found to have put on weight.

People with OSA have one thing in common. They store fat in their neck and stomach.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Apnea And Surgery.

Share this page:
Enjoy this sleep apnea page? Please pay it forward. Here's how..

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.